Tiramisu is a luxurious, creamy, and oh-so-boozy dessert. By layering sweetened mascarpone and ladyfingers drugged in rum and espresso you've got quite the killer combination. If this dessert wasn't a glutton-gone-wild before, it is now. The addition of melted chocolate brings the sweetness and intensity of the tiramisu to a whole new level. Chocolate and espresso have always been a match made in taste-bud heaven. They pair together like peanut butter and jelly, peas and carrots, cheese and wine, Beavis and Butthead. Oh no wait, well sort of, they're not food, anyway you know what I mean.
The longer you allow the dessert to sit and marinate, the richer it will be. This is always the hardest part of cooking...waiting. My husband took this photo last week while I was waiting for some cookies to finish baking in the oven. Usually I don't sit like a puppy and wait for the timer to go off but I was testing a new recipe and wanted to watch them puff-up in action. More on those later on.
I suggest you assemble the tiramisu before you go to bed and have it for breakfast. Yes there is rum but it's surrounded by cream and ladyfingers, and even some eggs (eggs are always good for breakfast!), so really the booze is just an accessory here. If you ever need an excuse to buy shoes or have boozy desserts for breakfast, I'm your girl.
There are many, MANY, recipes out there for tiramisu. The ingredients really don't vary too much. Mascarpone, lady fingers, cream, sugar, eggs, espresso, rum, and sometimes raw eggs. Ick. I don't know how people in this day and age with all the worry over food safety can still consume raw, uncooked eggs. Even if Martha Stewart herself prepared something specially for me with raw egg I would probably tell her I'm allergic. I just can't bring myself to do it, doesn't seem worth the risk.
With this recipe however, you cook the custard mixture over a double broiler until the temperature reaches a safe 160 degrees F. An instant-read thermometer here is key. The use of the double broiler is also very important. If you were to cook the custard mixture directly over heat (in a saucepan for example) you also run the risk of scrambling your eggs. The indirect heat (steam) from the double broiler allows the mixture to cook evenly without any scorching.
I prepared this tiramisu in a trifle dish, but you can easily swap it out for individual serving cups, or even a cake pan. Really anything will work, it's just a matter of how you want to present it. The recipe below will make a large quantity (enough to fill the trifle) so if you're looking to make 4 individual servings for a dinner party, you may have quite a bit left over...nothing wrong with that of course.
And lastly...this dessert is not low-cal. Not low-sugar. Not low-fat and definitely not a Weight Watchers friendly dessert (we're talking around 800 calories a serving, can you feel your arteries tighten?) It is not low-anything. It's heavy, and fatty, and amazing. This is a special occasion treat you would make for the ones you love...or the ones you think are too skinny.
2 1/2 cups strong, brewed coffee, at room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso granules (not instant coffee)
5 tablespoons dark rum (I used Captain Morgan)
2 3/4 cups mascarpone, divided
4 Tablespoons PLUS 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
4 large egg yolks
2 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used semi-sweet chocolate chips)
48 lady fingers (approx, depending on the size of your dish)
cocoa for dusting
Stir the coffee, espresso, and rum in a wide bowl until the espresso dissolves. Set aside.
Combine the 2 cups mascarpone, 4 tablespoons sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl and whisk to blend; cover and chill.
Place one tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Do not dump the gelatin in otherwise you could end up with lumps. Let stand until the gelatin softens, about 10-15 minutes.
Whisk the remaining sugar, yolks, 1/4 cup cream, and 1/4 cup water in a medium metal bowl to blend. Place bowl over a large saucepan of boiling water (do not let bottom of bowl touch water) and whisk constantly until custard thickens and temperature reaches 160° on an instant-read thermometer, This can take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes depends on your cooker.
Remove bowl from heat. Add gelatin mixture and whisk until dissolved, 15-20 seconds. Return bowl over water, add chocolate, and whisk until almost melted, about 30 seconds.
Set bowl in a large bowl of ice water and whisk until chocolate is melted and custard is cool, 5-6 minutes. Whisk in the remaining mascarpone. In another medium bowl, beat remaining 2 cups chilled cream until firm peaks form. Fold half of the cream into custard in 2 additions to make a chocolate mousse. Save the remaining whipped cream for garnish.
Spread 1/4 of chocolate mousse in bottom of the trifle dish.
For perfectly soaked ladyfinger, drop into the coffee, roll and remove within 2-3 seconds. You do not want the coffee to completely penetrate to the center of the cookie otherwise they become too soggy and your tiramisu will end up watery. Dunk ladyfingers one by one in the coffee mixture and arrange in a single layer on top of the mousse.
Top with another layer of the mousse and a layer of dipped ladyfingers.
Spread the remaining sweetened mascarpone over the top of the ladyfingers.
Continue layering with the remaining mousse, about two more layers. Add one last layer of lady fingers and then top with the remaining whipped cream.
Lightly dust with cocoa powder. Let sit for at least 8 hours in the refrigerator.
Dig in. I mean really dig in and get to that middle layer. Every bite is heaven I promise you. The tiramisu will only GET BETTER over the next few days as the coffee mixture slowly seeps into the cookies.